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Which Draft prospects are rising and falling?

May 9, 2019

MLB Pipeline not only is gearing up for the June 3 Draft -- Jonathan Mayo is working on a new first-round projection and we're both consumed with expanding our Draft Top 100 to 200 -- but also for the opening of the international signing period on July 2. As usual,

MLB Pipeline not only is gearing up for the June 3 Draft -- Jonathan Mayo is working on a new first-round projection and we're both consumed with expanding our Draft Top 100 to 200 -- but also for the opening of the international signing period on July 2.

As usual, Jesse Sanchez has broken down the top international talents with scouting grades, video and their expected destinations. Check out his International Top 30 and his analysis of this year's class. The top two talents are a pair of Dominicans, outfielder Jasson Dominguez (who's linked to the Yankees) and shortstop Robert Puason (Athletics).

Let's look at the hitter and pitcher who have made the biggest leap into the first round and the two who have made the biggest fall from the same territory since the start of the season. Coincidentally, all four are college players.

Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop was a third- or fourth-round talent entering the year, tooled up but without much track record of production. He since has parlayed a more disciplined approach into contending for the NCAA Division I home run title and proven that his plus speed allows him to fit in center field. Right-hander Seth Johnson pitched just six innings in two years at Louisburg (N.C.) JC before transferring to Campbell, where he has wowed scouts with a pristine delivery, a fastball that reaches 98 mph and flashes of a plus slider.

Duke left-hander Graeme Stinson opened 2019 as our highest-rated pitcher at a four-year college and a potential top-10 pick, but his fastball dipped into the mid-80s and his once-mighty slider was less terrifying before he got shut down in March with a hamstring injury. As a potential 20-20 shortstop, Auburn's Will Holland projected as a mid-first-rounder until he got too spread out in his stance this spring and struggled mightily at the plate.

For more on this topic, watch the video at the top of this Inbox.

Given that the cupboard is so bare top to bottom within the organization for the Orioles, do you see a plausible path where they throw everyone a curveball with the No. 1 overall pick and spread their bonus-pool money around to acquire more depth?

-- Joe L., Easton, Md.

With an awful big league club and an unremarkable farm system, the Orioles need a lot of help. However, the best thing they can do with the No. 1 choice is to take the best player available and find a cornerstone around whom they can build a future contender.

Baltimore has the second-biggest bonus pool in the 2019 Draft at $13,821,300 and can stretch that amount for the first 10 rounds to $14,512,365 without forfeiting any future picks. The Orioles can spend $7 million or so on Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman or Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and still have roughly $7.5 million left in their bonus pool. That's more cash than a dozen teams have to play with, and would allow them to give $2.5 million to their second-rounder and $1.5 million to their supplemental second-rounder.

Taking a lesser player at 1-1 to save more money is fraught with risk. Baltimore would be sacrificing talent at the top, which is by far the most valuable pick in the Draft, and there's no guarantee that the players it would target to overspend on with later choices would fall far enough. The D-backs have four selections between the Orioles' first two picks and a larger bonus pool, so they could wreck Baltimore's plans.

To be honest, no. We liked the Padres right-hander enough to rank him 34th on our preseason Top 100 Prospects list and noted that he had the best changeup and the best control of anyone on there.

But Paddack also hadn't pitched above Double-A and had a lackluster curveball, so he projected as more of a mid-rotation starter who wasn't going to overmatch big league hitters. So far he has carved them up with his fastball and changeup, and if the season ended today he'd deserve the National League Cy Young Award. I'm not ready to say he's really this good, but we definitely should revise his ceiling upward.

My Draft crushes this year are outfielders Kameron Misner (Missouri) and Matt Wallner (Southern Mississippi). Do you think Misner will be available when the Phillies pick at No. 14 in the first round and will Wallner last until their next choice at No. 91 in the third round?

-- Jon F., Westampton, N.J.

I'm also intrigued by Misner, who has the best all-around tools in this year's college crop with huge raw power, plus speed and arm strength and the ability to play center field. He also has an extremely patient approach that's another asset. While he has respectable overall numbers at .293/.454/.508 with 10 homers and 19 steals, he's batting just .218/.358/.322 with a 32 percent strikeout rate in Southeastern Conference play.

Those atrocious conference stats would drop Misner into the back half of the first round as of now, leaving him on the board for the Phillies at No. 14. The tools are so good that he could move back ahead of Philadelphia with a strong finish, especially if he catches fire at the SEC tournament in front of a crowd of scouts.

Wallner has some of the best power in the college class and has homered 10 times in the last month following a slow start. He may not go late in the first round like we expected at the beginning of the year, but he won't last past midway through the second round.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly MLB Pipeline Podcast.